The Suitcase Lady


May 1, 2012, 9:59 pm

My husband suggested I write this blog, proving that he has a good sense of humor and that I don’t tell stories without permission.

My guy works hard to keep current on all things techie. Every week he writes programs, creates websites, reads technical literature and fixes numerous ailing computers. He is a man of the times.

Imagine his chagrin when he recently pulled out his phone and a young relative spontaneously exclaimed, “Why you have an antique cellphone.”

While not being the type to stand out all night in front of an Apple store to be first with the latest  electronic wonder, he didn’t think of his gadgets as being “antique” either. He does now.

Last week, it was my turn to have an antiquarian moment. I was spending the day with 100 middle schoolers doing an art class on Maria Sibylla Merian, an amazing 17th century German artist who did splendid natural science drawings of insects. I brought a deck of butterfly cards, beautiful photographs and descriptions of many of the world’s lepidoptera species.

“I don’t want you to be creative or imaginative today,” I warned them. “I want you to choose a butterfly card and try to draw it exactly.”

I feared they would work fifteen minutes and call their drawings complete. But to my delight, almost none of the students were finished when the allotted time was up. Now I had a dilemma. They could not finish their work without the photos, and I needed to take the cards with me for a program in another school.

“I guess I will have to make some color copies, “I lamented,” and we all know that colored ink costs as much as French champagne.”

Their classroom teacher didn’t miss a beat. “Go to your lockers and get your cellphones,” she ordered. There was a mass exodus to the halls. The kids returned and photographed their butterfly cards. Problem solved, 21st century style.

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